Sacked NHS worker claims 'silence deal': Executive investigating Wessex computer scheme prohibited from NHS for two years

A SENIOR health authority executive was sacked and then prohibited from working in the National Health Service for two years in what she views as an attempt to buy her silence over a mismanaged computer scheme which lost as much as pounds 63m. The Department of Health confirmed yesterday that it was not consulted.

Rosemary Storrs, former Information Technology director at Wessex Regional Health Authority, claimed that she was asked to leave in October 1992 and offered a pounds 78,000 settlement if she agreed not to work full-time in the NHS for two years. She was not given any explanation for her dismissal.

Ms Storrs was brought into the authority to investigate the circumstances surrounding the collapse in 1990 of a computer scheme. Secret district auditor reports uncovered by the Independent in an investigation with Computer Weekly earlier this year showed how large amounts - up to pounds 63m - had been lost. The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published these reports during a special hearing in May.

Wessex offered individuals closely associated with the venture well-paid consultancy work after leaving.

Ms Storrs was given a pounds 400-a-day consultancy. Her predecessor, Harry Tuffill, left the authority in 1990 and was given a six-month consultancy contract. The District Auditor later criticised him for interfering in the purchase of a computer which lost Wessex at least pounds 2m despite clear contractual prohibitions on involvement with the purchase. .

The former regional general manager, John Hoare, was given a 'special' assignment for 10 months after he left in 1989. MPs were told that Mr Hoare, despite being blamed for the failure of the computer scheme, was not dismissed from his post, but was given pounds 119,940 in compensation on taking early retirement.

After her appointment, Ms Storrs pursued computer contractors for compensation. She was one of the few officers in Wessex to emerge from the scandal with any credit.

She took one computer consultant to court for repayment of pounds 5.5m but was asked to leave before the case was finished. Wessex has said that the legal action is no longer being taken.

As the Independent has disclosed, many senior officers including Sir Robin Buchanan, the present authority chairman, were involved in the original negotiations with this contractor. Some officers suspected Ms Storrs - with no good grounds - of leaking information about the computer scheme to the press.

She decided to reveal details of the 'onerous and unreasonable' two-year ban, because she believes that it is against the spirit of the Secretary of State for Health, Virginia Bottomley's, intention of creating an atmosphere of openness in the NHS.

Ms Storrs said she did not make the details of her contract public until now because after her dismissal from Wessex she had been working as a consultant to the authority and 'it would not have been professional to talk about my former employer while under such a contract'.

Wessex insists this sort of clause is 'perfectly commonplace'. The Department of Health said yesterday: 'Wessex region has conceded arrangements for severance payments were made without due authority.'

It added that although it was not consulted about the ban it believes that it was 'not unreasonable'.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map